Nothing could be worse than starting the day with a stiff neck. With stinging pain at your every movement, it can easily ruin an otherwise bright, sunny day.
There are a number of factors that can cause pain in the neck. Looking down at your smartphone or computer may seem harmless but little do we know that it can actually make our neck ache.
Among all the suspects, however, the most “notorious” one would have to be the kind of pillow you use. According to some of the world’s leading neck doctors, sleeping on your back with your head bent forward will not make it go away. In fact, it can make it even worse.
Sleeping on your side or on your stomach isn’t the solution either especially when your head is bent, tilted, and twisted at odd and weird angles.
The key to all these lies in the kind of pillow you use because instead of keeping your neck bent up or down, the pillow should keep it parallel to the mattress. The kind of pillow you use and your preferred sleeping position should help you narrow down your choices.
If you want to sleep better without experiencing pain the morning after, the following tips should help.
- Side Sleepers – if you love sleeping on your side, a thick and firm pillow is best because it provides the best support for your neck based on the position.
- Stomach Sleepers – if you prefer sleeping on your stomach, the best pillow to pick would have to be one that’s soft and flat so your neck won’t get stretched too much to the point of experiencing discomfort.
- Back Sleepers – if you’re more comfortable on your back, a medium thick pillow makes better sense because going too thick and hard can cause your head to bend forward while picking an ultra-soft one can cause it to sink. Remember that to avoid neck pain, the neck should be parallel to the mattress
After establishing your preferred sleeping position, the next thing to do is identify the kind of stuffing/material that can be found inside the pillow. Below is a simple guide.
- Cotton/Wool – what makes cotton or wool a good choice is that they rarely cause allergic reactions. Its hypoallergenic properties make them resistant to dust which makes them the smart choice for people with allergies. This type of pillow tends to be firm and flat though, which makes them ill-advised for stomach sleepers.
- Feathers – unlike cotton and wool, feathers can be bad for people with allergies because they can trigger allergic reactions. They are suitable for side sleepers, however, because pillows with feathers as stuffing tend to be firm. While affordable compared to other types of pillows, feather pillows aren’t that much reliable when it comes to providing neck stability because the feathers move when you move, making you end up with no support and with pain in your neck in the process.
- Latex foam – considered to be the best stuffing material for neck protection, what makes latex even better is the fact that it keeps you from heating up. Many of us don’t realize that we become hot when we sleep which can lead to discomfort and restlessness. By using a pillow that protects your neck while keeping you cool at the same time, you’re almost guaranteed a good night sleep night in and night out.
- Memory foam – if you’re the type who doesn’t have a preferred sleeping position and occasionally sleeps on your side, on your back, and on your stomach, this kind of pillow is your new best friend. With its awesome head and neck support and unmatched comfort, it’s no surprise that it has become very popular over the years.
What makes this pillow perfect is because it responds to both your body heat and weight. It softens and adapts to the contours of your head, neck, and shoulders. The only drawback with this type of pillow is it retains heat which can make you sweat in inconvenience though the more recent models come with built-in ventilation for added comfort.
If none of the pillows mentioned above satisfies your needs, you may want to consider getting specialty pillows.
- Cool pillows – are designed to absorb heat so you won’t wake up with sweat dripping down your neck.
- Anti-snore pillows – designed to keep you from snoring by keeping your head in a position where your airways remain open, usually done by pulling the chin away from your chest.
- Orthopedic pillows – this is another great alternative for people who keep suffering from neck pain every once in a while. Designed to help you correct your body’s position while in bed, the pillow’s design conforms to orthopedic guidelines, making sure that one or more parts of your body are where they’re supposed to be and that they are adequately supported.
With your busy schedule and the stress you have to deal with every day, having a good night sleep is essential. This won’t be possible if you continue to experience neck pain from time to time. If you are in this situation, consider shopping for a new pillow using the guidelines we detailed above.